Introduce Your Dog To Socialization
By Michael Russell
Socialization is a process of exposing your dog to people, animals and different situations. This teaches them to be confident and calm their fears of the unknown. It is essential for animals to have friends outside the existing family.
Socialization is a specialized type of training. It should be started when your dog is a puppy. This is the time when their minds determine what is acceptable conduct. Isolating them may cause them to become overly shy. Suddenly being exposed to the public or a new situation could cause anxiety symptoms like shaking and panting rapidly.
Socialization training needs to be done properly so your puppy will grow up into a well socialized dog. They should never be forced or rushed to do anything. An essential step in socialization is to enroll him in obedience classes. The classes focus on positive training techniques and are very beneficial in helping him interact with other pets and their owners. Puppies don’t have an attention span so the sessions are very short. Your dog should progress well in a small group setting before he is put into a large group.
Consult a veterinarian about the best time to enroll your puppy. Before choosing a puppy class ask some people who have already attended classes for some information.
There are ways you can help your dog to advance in his socialization skills. Take him almost everywhere you go. Rides in the car, walks around your neighborhood or trips to pet stores are great places for him to see an assortment of different sceneries. This should expose your dog to a variety of people with different weights, heights, ages and nationalities. When you’re at home put him outside and let him observe people and dogs as they go by. He can listen to the many noises and sounds around him. Don’t let him around unusually loud sounds. He needs to get used to hearing them first. You can buy tapes of loud noise such as a thunderstorm. Play it on low volume. When he gets used to it, you can turn it up louder. Also, introduce him to other dog-friendly cats and dogs. If he feels safe, his confidence will grow.
After you’ve done all the socialization activities, your work still isn’t done. The groundwork is set in place but you need to reinforce social skills throughout the his life. Some dogs that have been trained to socialize as puppies have become aggressive later on in their life.
Don’t despair if you have an older dog that has never been socialized. Even though it is best to train them when they are puppies it can be done with and an older dog. Don’t allow him to be overwhelmed. He will approach new things in his own way or when he feels comfortable.
Your response will also help to reinforce your dog’s behavior. Tell him no if he is attacking something. If he is being curious and smelling it than praise him. Remember to always give him special rewards to enhance positive events.
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